Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Steps In

Under the 20th Amendment, Barack Obama became President Obama at noon sharp today; we should all be grateful this is spelled out in the constitution, and particularly that it is not dependent on the oath that Chief Justice Roberts somehow managed to flub:

ROBERTS: Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?
OBAMA: I am.
ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama...
OBAMA: I, Barack--
ROBERTS: ...do solemnly swear...
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...
ROBERTS: ...that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully...
OBAMA: ...that I will execute [pause]
ROBERTS: ...faithfully the office of president of the United States...
OBAMA: ...the office of president of the United States faithfully...
ROBERTS: ...and will, to the best of my ability...
OBAMA: ...and will to the best of my ability...
ROBERTS: ...preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
OBAMA: ...preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ROBERTS: So help you God?
OBAMA: So help me God.
ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.
That Roberts, what a lackwit.

Much the same applies to Elizabeth Alexander, who offered an inaugural poem that had some nice lines ("A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, 'Take out your pencils. Begin.'") and some not so nice lines ("... [who] built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of."). And I have to ask, having heard it on the radio without the benefit of video: that was a robot reciting that poem, right? Was the actual poet busy or something?

At the precise moment when President Obama was clumsily sworn in, I was running by the Portland Opera building under cloudless skies. This is a good day.

1 comment:

larryniven said...

I have to agree with you about that poem. It started off pretty good and really fell off the cliff at the end. "Love" this and "love" that - what is she, a Hallmark executive? And I've heard much better readings, too, my favorite of which so far is "Ballad of Orange and Grape" by Muriel Rukeyser (sorry, I dunno where to find the mp3). But you know what? I'll take a kind of sappy poem and a good president over a great poem and a lousy president any inauguration.